Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron (Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals) (Homer)
Mother of the Celtic Gods
Area of Power The Goddess of:
The hunt, wild animals, wilderness, forests, hills, childbirth (sometimes when it is not associated with Eileithyia), virginity, protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women.
She is associated with the moon.
As a huntress, she is associated with archery and a symbol of hers is the golden bow and arrow.
The stag, hunting dog and the cypress are sacred to her.
Sometimes also associated with the bear.
Artemis was born at the sixth day, the reason why it was sacred for her.
As a goddess of maiden dances and songs, Artemis is often portrayed with a lyre.
Artemis' chariot (and its bridles) were made of gold and was pulled by four golden horned deer (Elaphoi Khrysokeroi).
Counterparts & Possible Connections
Zeus and Leto (Parents)
Apollo (Twin Brother)
The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.
Myths Associated with Artemis
Myths differ as to who was born first, Artemis or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as the first born, becoming her mother's mid-wife upon the birth of her brother Apollo.
According to a poem of Callimachus, Artemis, at three years old, asked Zeus to grant her six wishes: to remain always a virgin; to have many names to set her apart from her brother Apollo; to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer; to have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt; to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir; and for twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. She wished for no city dedicated to her, but to rule the mountains, and for the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.
A Queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion, Niobe boasted of her superiority to Leto because while she had fourteen children (Niobids), seven boys and seven girls, Leto had only one of each. When Artemis and Apollo heard this impiety, Apollo killed her sons as they practiced athletics, and Artemis shot her daughters, who died instantly without a sound. Apollo and Artemis used poisoned arrows to kill them, though according to some versions two of the Niobids were spared, one boy and one girl. Amphion, at the sight of his dead sons, killed himself. A devastated Niobe and her remaining children were turned to stone by Artemis as they wept. The gods themselves entombed them.
As a virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but only her hunting companion, Orion, won her heart. Although the stories differ, Orion is killed either by Artemis or by Gaia. In some versions, he is killed by Artemis, while in others he is killed by a scorpion sent by either Gaia or Apollo. In some versions, Orion tries to seduce Opis, one of her followers, and she killed him. In a version by Aratus, Orion took hold of Artemis' robe and she killed him in self-defense. In yet another version, Apollo sends the scorpion. According to Hyginus, Artemis once loved Orion (in spite of the late source, this version appears to be a rare remnant of her as the pre-Olympian goddess, who took consorts, as Eos did), but was tricked into killing him by her brother Apollo, who was "protective" of his sister's maidenhood.
There are always variations when it comes to Mythology. The majority of the information provided in this section comes directly from these sources: